One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A member of the clergy who assists with the daily services of a cathedral but is not a member of the chapter.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in John Palsgrave (d. 1554), teacher and scholar of languages. From petty + canon. Compare post-classical Latin peticanonicus.
petty canon/ˌpɛtɪ ˈkanən/
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